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Student equality, diversity and inclusion report 2019 Attainment by ethnicity

The student degree attainment gap by ethnicity is the difference in the proportion of Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic (BAME) students receiving an Upper degree (First or 2.1) as compared to White students.

The contextual data presented here pertains to UK-domiciled students only, since it is compulsory for higher education institutions to submit ethnicity data to the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) for UK-domiciled students; however, UK-domiciled students can opt not to disclose their ethnicity.

Despite the representation of BAME students among first-degree undergraduate students nationally, there are pronounced differences in the degree attainment outcomes of BAME and White students in UK HE.

In the academic year 2017-2018, 67.7% of BAME students received an Upper degree, as compared to 80.9% of White students, a degree attainment gap of 13.2 percentage points. The ethnicity attainment gap was lower in Scotland: for the academic year 2017-2018, 70% of BAME students attained an Upper degree as compared to 80.5% of White students, a degree attainment gap of 10.5 percentage points. Within the BAME category, rates of attainment differ greatly by ethnic group, with the most pronounced attainment gap between Black and White students.

In the academic year 2017-2018, 20.7% of BAME students across the UK received a First as compared to 30.9% of White students (First attainment gap of 10.2 percentage points). The ‘First’ attainment gap in Scotland is lower (6.7 percentage points): 19.1% of BAME students received a First as compared to 25.8% of White students.


Findings

At present, the University’s ethnicity attainment statistics pertain only to UK-domiciled students. Generally, both White and BAME students at St Andrews receive a higher proportion of Upper degrees compared with averages across the UK, Scotland and the Russell Group of universities.

The ethnicity attainment gap at St Andrews over the past five academic years has generally been smaller in comparison to the UK, Scottish and Russell Group gaps, however in 2017-2018 there was a notable increase in the ethnicity attainment gap.

The First attainment gap at the University has fluctuated over the past five years: for three of the five years, the First attainment gap was lower than both the UK (10.2%) and Scottish (6.7%) averages but was higher in the academic year 2017-2018 at 12.3%. In 2016- 2017, there was a First attainment gap of -3.2% in favour of BAME students.


Undergraduate degree attainment gap by ethnicity

Percentage achieving Upper Degrees

A bar graph depicting the percentage of BAME and White St Andrews, Scottish and UK students attaining an Upper degree, for the academic year 2017 - 2018.
A bar graph depicting the percentage of BAME and White St Andrews, Scottish and UK students attaining an Upper degree, for the academic year 2017 - 2018.
  • In 2017-2018, 77.2% of St Andrews BAME students attained an upper degree, 70% of BAME Scottish students attained an upper degree and 67.7% of UK BAME students attained an upper degree.
  • In the same academic year, 91.8% of White St Andrews students attained an upper degree, 80.5% of Scottish White students attained an upper degree and 80.9% of White UK students attained an upper degree.
  • The bar graph shows that both BAME and White St Andrews students achieved a higher percentage of upper degrees than Scottish and UK benchmarks.

Percentage of St Andrews’ students achieving Upper Degrees

A bar graph depicting the percentage of St Andrews BAME and White students who attained an Upper degree.
A bar graph depicting the percentage of St Andrews BAME and White students who attained an Upper degree in the academic years 2014-2015 to 2018-2019.
  • 2014-2015
    82.5% of BAME students and 92.7% of White students attained an upper degree, this is a 10.2 percentage point gap.
  • 2015-2016
    85% of BAME students and 92.6% of White students attained an upper degree, this is a 7.6 percentage point gap.
  • 2016-2017
    90.8% of BAME students and 90.8% of White students attained an upper degree. This is the only year, in the past five years where there was no difference in the attainment of BAME and White students.
  • 2017-2018
    77.2% of BAME students and 91.8% of White students attained an upper degree, this is a 14.6 percentage point gap.
  • 2018-2019
    85.3% of BAME students attained an upper degree and 89.2% of White students attained an upper degree, this is a 3.9 percentage point difference.

The bar graph shows White students attained a higher percentage of upper degrees than BAME students apart from 2016-2017.


Undergraduate degree First attainment gap by ethnicity

Percentage achieving a First

A bar graph showing the percentage of BAME and White St Andrews, Scottish and UK students who attained a First-class degree in the academic year 2017-2018.
A bar graph showing the percentage of BAME and White St Andrews, Scottish and UK students who attained a First-class degree in the academic year 2017-2018.
  • 19.6% of BAME students attained a First, 19.1% of Scottish BAME students attained a First and 20.7% of UK BAME students attained a First.
  • St Andrews BAME population received a greater percentage of Firsts than Scottish BAME students, and 1.1 percentage points less than UK BAME students.
  • In the academic year 2017-2018, of White students, 31.9% of St Andrews students attained a First, 25.8% Scottish students attained a First and 30.9% of UK students attained a First.

Percentage of St Andrews’ students achieving a First

A bar graph showing the percentage of St Andrews students who received a First In the academic year 2014-2015 to 2018-2019.
A bar graph showing the percentage of St Andrews students who received a First In the academic year 2014-2015 to 2018-2019.
  • 2014-2015
    25.4% of BAME students and 31.2% of White students attained a First, this is a 5.8 percentage point gap.
  • 2015-2016
    27.5% of BAME students and 29% of White students attained a First, this is a 1.5 percentage point gap.
  • 2016-2017
    33.7% of BAME students and 30.5% of White students attained a First, this is a -3.2 percentage point gap in favour of BAME students. This is the only year where BAME students attained a higher proportion of Firsts than White students.
  • 2017-2018
    19.6% of BAME St Andrews students achieved a First and 31.9% of White students attained a First, this is a 12.3 percentage point gap.
  • 2018-2019
    30.7% of BAME students and 33.2% of White students attained a First, this is a 2.5 percentage point gap.